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2010 release, the long-awaited sophomore album from the British singer/songwriter. The Sea showcases a remarkable step forwards in the musical evolution of one of the most acclaimed artists of recent times. Corinne started work on the songs for her second album at the end of 2007, following a whirlwind two years which saw her go from unknown singer/songwriter to worldwide multi-platinum, award-winning artist with a string of Grammy and Brits nominations to her name. Recorded mainly in Leeds and Manchester and co-produced by Corinne Bailey Rae with two separate producers, Steve Brown and Steve Chrisanthou, The Sea is a career-defining album. Working with a new band of musicians, most of whom she has known for many years, she has produced an extraordinarily intimate album, full of a lyrical potency that is wonderfully descriptive yet honest, open and deeply evocative of her personal journey.
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I was truly saddened by the death of Corinne's husband and worried (selfishly) that she'd pull a "Sade" & disappear from the music scene forever or at least for a very long time. However when I heard that she had a new album coming out, I was cautiously optimistic - I mean really after such a loss I didn't expect sunny, happy songs & anticipated sad songs expressing emotions about her loss.
I've been listening to this album on & off for months now and have gained a huge appreciation for it. It's better than her debut in a different way; this collection feels cathartic, moody & simmering - the same excellent musical arrangements & tender vocals coupled with intelligent lyrics can be found & yes there's also a little melancholy but it's a creative step forward for her music.
As we all know as music fans, a lead single can slow, kill or boost a project and although I love I'D DO IT ALL AGAIN, the video was really sad and because Corinne is one of those people who radiates "goodness" it really hurt to watch the video while listening to the track because I could feel her pain. But as I listened to the album over and over, I really couldn't pick which other track they could have released first. I suspect that a lot of people who supported her debut felt the need to pass on this project for this reason but like I said in the beginning, years will go by and more people will listen to this album and be unable to put it down.
My favorite tracks are:
CLOSER - so glad they've released it as a single, its a sexy mid-tempo track;
THE SEA - tender, sweet ballad;
THE BLACKEST LILY - frisky up-tempo 60's vibe;
PARIS NIGHTS/NEW YORK MORNINGS - another fun up-tempo track (loved the video, the dress she wears in it give me LIFE!!);
DIVING FOR HEARTS - haunting lyrics;
LOVE'S ON ITS WAY - amazing lyrics that really speak to present day world conditions & like her lyrics, I too pray "love is on its way and that it won't be too late"
I hope that people who bought it and were disappointed give it time and a few more listens while those who didn't buy it upon release, discover it.
Corinne Bailey Rae's The sea is an album that should be in everyone's library.
although the whole album is a treat, my personal favorites run right in a line from the beginning of the disc. 'are you here' must be inspired by the boyfriend she lost tragically a few years ago. and if it isn't, whoever this man is or was, he is wonderful. rae's voice floats like silk over the dense rock-textured refrain this song. and she is even more transcendent on 'i'd do it all again', the second track on the collection.
she hits a rhythmic stride in 'feels like the first time', which features a piano riff straight out of the early recordings of aretha franklin, and stays in this vein for the funky, high spirited 'the blackest lily'. then, she pays a tribute to prince styled soul with the ballad 'closer'. this phrase is so over-used, and i apologize for using it, but 'closer' is HOT! no, HAWT! and i wasn't ready for it but now i can't get enough of it.
and i can't get enough of this cd. it was one of the best investments i made in 2010.